Music Psychology and Music Theory: Problems and Prospects
Music theorists and music psychologists may benefit from increasing awareness of each others' discipline. However, it is necessary to delimit the common ground shared by the disciplines and, at the same time, to clarify basic differences between the two approaches. Toward this end, this article begins with a schematic history of the psychology of music from the point of view of how it has been influenced by music theory. Following this is a brief characterization of the goals, methods, and theoretical commitments of experimental psychology. The article then reports a recent program of research that reflects the direct influence of music theory on psychological experimentation. The experiments test predictions of the bottom-up component of Eugene Narmour's 1990 implication-realization model for melodic expectancy. It is shown that five principles underlie this component leading to the development of an experimentally testable, quantitative formulation. The principles are validated across three different musical styles and listeners varying in music training and experience. Implications for the psychological studies of music are discussed.